In the minds of many high school students, having their research project published in an academic journal is viewed as a major accomplishment.
If done the right way, from conducting independent research to data collection, writing the manuscript, and going through the review process, it is a lengthy process. Plus, it’s a way to share your findings with the greater community.
However, simply publishing your article does not automatically equate to success and should not be the primary focus of your motivation to do research.
This is just one of the common misconceptions many high school students have about publishing research. We’re here to debunk these misconceptions, how you can critically evaluate research publications and other ways to showcase your research.
What Does it Mean to Get Published in a Research Journal?
In a nutshell, getting published in a research journal means that a research work has gone through reviews and criticisms and has been found credible enough to be published in a journal.
Very often, publications employ a procedure known as “peer review.” This means that fellow academics in the same field examine the publication and its contributions and provide feedback to the authors.
Scientific writing or papers serve as gateways to the rest of the world. For professional researchers, it is part of their job to get their papers published because it is their responsibility to have their findings checked by research peers and then shared with the academic community.
It is a popular trend to include research projects for high school students in their college applications. Since many high school students have done research projects, it adds peer pressure. It also creates the misconception that seeking where to publish research papers as high school students is a way to stand out from the college applicant pool.
It is a misconception! Why? High school students are not full-time researchers yet. College admissions, including the most selective universities and colleges, don’t expect high school students to publish their papers, nor do they necessarily consider it an authentic accomplishment. It raises too many questions for the admission officers when they see high school students’ papers published? How did the student get there? Who helps the student get published? Was it through a “pay-to-play” opportunity?
4 Common Misconceptions For High School Students Publishing In Research Journals
Here are the four main misconceptions that often cause doubt and hesitation in new researchers.
Misconception 1: Getting published automatically equals success
As we shared at the beginning, while publishing scientific research is an incredible accomplishment, especially for high school student authors, it does not automatically equate to authentic success.
A common reason many students want their research papers published is that they think it will give them a competitive edge on college applications. College admission officers, especially at selective institutions, are fully aware of the different ways high school students can buy their way into a co-authored paper or presentation.
If you choose this path, it could end up hurting you rather than helping you.
Misconception 2: High school students should publish their work anywhere possible
Not all academic journals are credible. Reputable journals have clear editorial standards, a review system of peers, and a strict selection process.
Predatory journals, on the other hand, lack clear editorial standards and instead charge publishing fees to unsuspecting authors. Other publications to avoid are “Pay to get published,” which will publish almost anything for money. Before you submit your original research paper to a local or international journal, do some research to confirm its credibility.
Misconception 3: All research journals are credible
Not all academic journals are credible. Reputable journals have clear editorial standards, a peer-review system, and a strict selection process.
Predatory journals, on the other hand, lack clear editorial standards and instead charge publishing fees to unsuspecting authors. Other publications to avoid are “Pay to get published,” which will publish almost anything for money. Before you submit your paper to a local or international journal, do some research to confirm its credibility.
How to Evaluate Research Publications
While some predatory journals are clearly suspicious, others are more subtle. It is essential to research to determine a publisher’s credibility. Here are ways to verify the authenticity of research publications.
1. Peer Review Process
All reputable journals use this method to verify the quality and originality of articles before publication. They have peer reviewers who examine the submitted manuscript and editors who do copy editing and provide feedback to the author.
2. How long it takes to publish
It usually takes a long time to go through the publishing procedure with credible journals. From submission to getting reviewed, it takes months or even over a year to publish a research paper with credible journals. Fast publishing results usually suggest loose standards or predatory journals or publications.
3. How the Journal Accepts Submissions
Credible journals have a strict and rigorous selection process for all submissions, such that only quality and authentic ones are published. To make the cut, you must study and follow their submission process.
4. Governing Bodies and Editorial Boards
Credible journals have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are acknowledged experts in the topic areas covered by the article.
5. Journal Ranking
Journal ranking is extensively used in academic circles to assess the influence and quality of academic journals.
6. Publication Fees
As an author, you may be required to pay for submission to and/or publication in a subscription-based journal but not in an open-access journal.
Just like college admissions, reputable publications are exceedingly competitive and provide very strong external feedback for the researchers.
Misconception 4: Published articles make college applications stand out
As we shared previously, most college admissions officers know how to evaluate the legitimacy of research articles and publications as criteria for consideration during the admissions process.
Students who have research articles or submissions in less than reputable publications risk actually hurting their chances of being accepted into an institution.
As co-authorship with other researchers on research papers published in credible journals has become a popular service among high school students, such a record in college application does not earn credits unless you can prove how you got there by yourself or you can show your research was conducted through a trustworthy program.
Other Ways High School Students Can Showcase Their Research Projects
The good news is that there are still other respectable ways for students to showcase their research.
Newspapers offer an alternative way to showcase your work if you cannot get it into credible research publications. A student can target top newspaper outlets by sending pitch emails to their editorial managers, explaining how your work is relevant to their audience. Plus, you can refer to it during your college application process.
Scholars can also showcase their research projects at student competitions. Research presentations at science fairs like the ISEF Regeneration are commonplace. Other student competitions include the John Locke Essay Competition, Genius Olympiad, STEM Fellowship Competition, and so on.
Winning one such competition with hundreds of entrants will be a clear indication of your unique abilities, which would be an advantage for your application.
3. Classroom presentation
Classroom presentations also allow you to show your classmates and teachers what you’ve been working on. You can educate your audience about your research findings, solicit reviews and recommendations, and answer any questions they may have.
4. Podcasts and Videos
Videos and podcasts have grown into enormously popular and diverse educational resources. Academic podcasts can aid in the dissemination of research findings, the enhancement of academic understanding, and the reach of new audiences.
To tag along a podcast or video project for the research is a fun way to share your findings. At Pioneer Academics, many students created their own podcasts to share their findings with the community. It is fun and easy to accomplish.
5. Certification of research
The best way to showcase the quality of your research as a high school student is through a reputable program’s certification. Reputable programs like Pioneer Academics and RSI have a regiment in students’ studies. Their certification sets their students apart from any research opportunities or records.
Don’t Stress About Publishing: Focus On Expanding Your Knowledge
Many students interested in research are sometimes discouraged by the need to focus on certain topics.
Don’t forget that you can write high school research papers on various subjects such as engineering, computer science, social sciences, physical sciences, artificial intelligence, high-impact environmental issues, philosophy, history, art, etc.
Scientific writing and publishing are critical components of students’ ongoing capacity development in any institution or organization. What matters most is the content’s originality and uniqueness. If your submission contains innovative and economically relevant ideas and thoughts, it is more likely to be approved and cited in the future, regardless of the kind of publication.
However, while being published might be a rewarding accomplishment, it should not be the primary reason for writing a research paper. You should be more concerned with broadening your understanding, developing new skills, and discovering more about your interests. At Pioneer, students are required to develop fresh knowledge that satisfies Pioneer’s criteria.
What Other Questions Do You Have About Research Publications?
At Pioneer Academics, we believe that students who will meaningfully impact society throughout their lives need personalized, guided educational experiences that inspire them to explore, to question, and generate and test their own ideas.
We offer students the opportunity to interact with their peers while also accessing their academic work.
To get started,sign up for an info session today!